Senior U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox issued his order recently denying Jeffrey MacDonald’s motion to alter or amend the 2014 decision.  Both rulings found that MacDonald failed to establish that he shouldn’t have been found guilty.  Fox said in his 169-page order that MacDonald’s lawyers failed to establish the merits of new evidence presented at a 7-day hearing held in 2012.  Lawyers for MacDonald, 71, who is serving 3 life sentences for the 1970 stabbing murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters at their home in Fort Bragg, had filed their motions in an attempt to win the former Army physician a new trial.

Former investigator Michael Malone testified at the trial that synthetic hairs, the defense believed to be from the wig of one of the real perpetrators was actually a doll hair. MacDonald contends that he was asleep when 4 intruders he described as “drug-crazed” entered the home in disguise and attacked him and his family.  He said that they yelled statements to the effect that the attack was motivated by an anti-military, anti-Vietnam prejudice.  The Department of Justice has since called into question many of Malone’s abilities and opinions in cases.

The prosecution didn’t argue against the fact that Malone has been the subject of intense scrutiny for his testimony in several cases, but contended that the report was known for some time and didn’t consist of any new evidence.

MacDonald still has an appeal pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.  MacDonald was an Army captain and physician for a Special Forces unit based at Fort Bragg.  He and his family lived on base.  He was convicted after a 7 week trial of murdering his pregnant wife, Colette and their two daughters, Kimberley, 5, and Kristen, 2.  Colette MacDonald had 37 stab wounds – some from an ice pick, some from a knife – and was beaten. She had two broken arms and a fractured skull.  MacDonald’s older daughter had a fractured skull and eight to 10 stab wounds. His younger daughter had 27 stab wounds.

An Army investigation found that the accusations against MacDonald were “untrue”, but 9 years later, he was convicted in a civilian trial and has been in prison ever since.


  1. Michael Malone did not testify at the 1979 trial. In 1990, the FBI’s top hair and fiber expert was asked by the government to analyze certain hairs/fibers found at the crime scene. Malone’s conclusions were put forth in two affidavits. The key element of his saran fiber analysis was that one of the three saran fibers found in Colette MacDonald’s hairbrush matched doll hair in the FBI’s exemplar collection. The defense did not dispute this conclusion.


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